Measuring social media return on investment (ROI) has always been a challenge for marketers. In fact, only 37 percent say they are able to measure their social activities at all.

One of the major problems with tying revenue and business results to social media is the lack of a clear understanding of what results are being measured.

To see potential earnings from social media, you need to know what to look for. Here are five ways that social media can increase your revenue:

  1. Buying Signals

Consumers aren’t shy about sharing their favorite products or asking their followers for recommendations when they’re in the market for something new. So why not tap into these buying signals and use them to generate revenue for your brand?

If you realize that consumers are tweeting about their dissatisfaction with a competitor’s product, that’s a great time to swoop in with a deal or discount if they switch. Or, if you notice that the majority of your followers are unsure whether they actually need your product at all, you can create content that speaks to the benefits you provide, moving some formerly reluctant consumers from prospect to lead.

  1. Individual Attributes

It is no longer good enough to personalize your email with “Hey John!” and assume you will blow Mr. Smith away with your knowledge of who he is. Consumers today expect truly personalized content, tailored to their interests, demographics and more.

To make your content generate revenue – by moving prospects down the sales funnel – you must first and foremost know your customer. And social media can be your greatest asset.

The individual attributes gathered on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks will take your one-to-one engagement to the next level. Things like income level, family size, habits, favorite websites and more can be uncovered and used to connect more meaningfully with each individual.

  1. Relevant Engagements

Successful social media marketing relies on engagements. Consumers expect brands to respond quickly and appropriately to all of their inquiries, and they feel more warmly to brands that deliver a personal touch when doing so.

Knowing your social audience can also help your brand become the center of a large, engaged network. This will boost your bottom line as you grow to be a prominent, top-of-mind fixture that consumers think of when making their next purchase.

  1. Building Relationships

The brands that get the most value out of social media are the ones that not only engage their audience, but also build meaningful relationships with them.

One particular instance where social media excels at generating revenue through relationships is influencer marketing. By identifying, reaching out to and building relationships with individuals who have large, engaged followings, brands can get their message in front of a wider audience. This means more sales, as well as more word-of-mouth, as the influencer’s audience continues to share your content with their followers.

  1. Steering the Conversation

One final way brands can generate revenue from social media is by steering the conversation towards the actions they want to see.

Including calls-to-action in social posts and creating compelling content works to move consumers down the funnel. With enough time and attention, consumers become customers. And by continuing to steer the conversation towards positive associations after a purchase – by creating a customer service Twitter handle, for instance – brands can improve customer loyalty as well.